Halloween advice: Be safe and skip trick-or-treat

Sandy didn't keep these children from trick or Sandy didn't keep these children from trick or treating on Halloween along Stratford Avenue in Garden City. (Oct. 31, 2012) Photo Credit: Newsday/Audrey C. Tiernan

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The kids won't like it.

But across Long Island elected officials are urging parents to keep their children safe -- to keep them home Wednesday -- instead of letting them trick-or-treat for Halloween.

With thousands of trees down, with hundreds of homes damaged by wind and flood conditions, with 75 percent of all LIPA customers still without power, officials said it's best just to be prudent.

No one has ordered that Halloween be postponed, as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie did Wednesday -- announcing that the state will postpone Halloween until Monday, Nov. 5, due to the "unthinkable" damage caused by superstorm Sandy.

In Manhattan, the 39th Annual Village Halloween Parade has been canceled, too -- for the first time in its four-decade history..

In Center Moriches, however, officials said the Halloween-themed March of Goblins was a go.

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But officials in the Town of Hempstead and Town of Smithtown encouraged people to stay home while the storm cleanup is under way.

And the Suffolk County police are recommending that "parents take precautions if they choose to take their children trick-or-treating" in storm-ravaged neighborhoods.

"Despite the improved weather conditions," Suffolk police said in a statement, "there are still numerous downed trees and live wires, as well as flooding conditions in many neighborhoods." In fact, the statement said. Police "suggest parents consider staying home and celebrating Halloween indoors.

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"Trick-or-treating and traditional Halloween celebrations are intended to be fun for children . . . However, due to the recent storm, it may be unsafe to be outdoors."

Smithtown public safety director John Valentine took that message one step further. "As far as Halloween goes," Valentine said, "there's just no way the roads can be made safe for trick-or-treating."

The Town of Smithtown sent out an emergency alert on the town's website, which subscribers receive via email, that said: "If at all possible, please refrain from trick-or-treating in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy as there are many hazards on the streets. If you must do so, parents should not let children go out unattended."

If parents do allow children to go out for Halloween, Hempstead Town spokesman Mike Deery said, "No youngsters should go out unattended . . . There are hazards out there."

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Glen Cove Mayor Ralph Suozzi said the city has imposed a 6 p.m. "safety curfew" for Wednesday, saying debris will be easier to spot -- and avoid -- during daylight.

"After anything as unusual as this, [storm] you want to get back to normal as soon as possible, so we ask that people trick-or-treat with safety in mind," Suozzi told Newsday.

Hempstead Village Mayor Wayne J. Hall Sr. also encouraged trick-or-treating during daylight hours, while canceling the village's Halloween party at Kennedy Park.

Mayor Bill Biondi of heavily flooded Mastic Beach suggested trick-or-treaters stay north of Neighborhood Road -- and not venture beyond their immediate communities.

"We still have a lot of trees down, and a lot of wires down," he said. "If it's clear in your area, stick to your area."

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Other village mayors, including those in Valley Stream, Lynbrook and Massapequa Park, reiterated calls for children to stay indoors for Halloween.

"Halloween or not, my advice is to stay home unless it is an absolute emergency," Valley Stream Mayor Ed Fare said.

He canceled the village's haunted hayride scheduled for Wednesday evening.

"You hate to spoil the kids' fun," he said, "but it is a lot better than having them walk between downed power lines and blocked streets."

Massapequa Park Mayor James Altadonna Jr., said: "If you want to get a few families together for a Halloween gathering, that is one thing, but it is unwise to be outside trick-or-treating."

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